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What Education Is Helpful to Become an Auto Body Repair Technician?

Auto body repair technicians have the knowledge and skills necessary to fix vehicle bodies and various parts that are often damaged in collisions. They can repair all types and sizes of vehicles, including cars, vans, trucks, buses, campers, trailers, and recreational vehicles. Read to learn more about the educational requirements of becoming an auto body repair tech.

Career Overview

Vehicles that are involved in collisions can sustain damage that ranges from fender-benders to being totaled. Experienced auto body repair technicians have the training and skills to make many of these cars, buses, or trucks look like they just came off the showroom floor. With frequent technological advances in vehicle structure, materials, and components, auto body repair technicians need to apply current techniques and methods for repairs to many different vehicles.

Important Facts about this Occupation

Degree Level Associate's degrees, technical certificates
Prerequisites High school diploma or equivalent and minimum ACT/SAT scores for some programs
Certification Recommended for higher pay, not usually required
Similar Occupations Automotive service technicians, heavy vehicle service technicians, motorcycle and small engine repair technicians
Median Salary (2018) $40,710 (for automotive service technicians and mechanics)
Job Growth (2016-2026) 6% (for automotive service technicians and mechanics)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Skills and Abilities

Technicians must possess manual skills, such as the ability to repair, replace, or align structural components, replace exterior panels, and perform various types of sheet metal welding or metal finishing. They need to know how to prepare paint and refinishing materials. Auto body repair technicians must also have a comprehensive grasp of math, science, and electronics. These skills enable them to be competent in making repairs that meet the manufacturer's specifications.

Educational Requirements

Some people learn the requisite skills on the job in an auto body repair shop. Increasingly, many auto body repair technicians complete formal training programs that are offered by accredited institutions. Students are typically taught how to safely repair and paint damaged vehicles in conformance with the industry standards. In formal educational programs dedicated to auto body repair training in postsecondary schools, the curriculum includes topics like:

  • Estimating the price of the needed work
  • Using tools properly
  • Basic refinishing
  • Hybrid electric vehicle
  • Collision repair welding
  • Chassis alignment, steering and suspension principles
  • Occupational health and safety